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Top 10 excuses to avoid business rules: #9 management doesn’t get it


#9: I would like to invest in business rules and decision management but my manager just doesn’t get it

This excuse typically arises because “decisions” are too generic to get management attention. Instead, focus on how automating decisions can help with more precise pricing, customer retention or cross-sell offers, better consistency when coping with staff turnover or multiple channels, better agility when trying to change to respond to competitors or new marketing campaigns. Think about the problem you believe business rules can solve. Technology never sells itself, you need to sell the benefits of using the technology.

The best way to do this is to tie the automation of decisions to some business process and to specific business objectives or key performance indicators. Then you can show how automating those decisions could improve the process and show why that matters to the business in terms of improved results.

What about technical management? You can also try a more technical sell around agility as well as leveraging other investments. Why would you want to go on creating a new generation of legacy systems? Does anyone enjoy spending a huge percentage of the IT budget on maintenance work? How much fun is it to know it is going to take so long to make that next change to the system that it won’t go live until another change request is queued up? This kind of technical agility can be delivered by business rules.

As for leveraging investments, think about the data warehouse(s) and operational systems you have. Would automating a decision let you turn that business intelligence into something actionable? If you could automate and improve a decision like cross-sell or next best offer in your call center, would that enhance the value of your CRM system? If you have built a 360 degree view of your customer, or even a 270 degree view, are there decisions that could, if automated, leverage this data effectively? Showing how a decision management approach can both solve a need and leverage other investments can be particularly effective with management.

There are lots of ways to “sell up” but the key to acceptance is the ability to explain the benefits of business rules to non-technical folks. Business managers would probably enjoy applying business rules to various problems, if they fully understood the benefits without hearing techno-speak. Try and visualize the kind of process you could have if only you automated some of these decisions.